Placebos Work! (08-17-20)

Recently completed research confirms the power of placebos and ways in which they may be useful in design contexts.  A Guevarra-lead team report that researchers worked with two sets of people: “The nondeceptive placebo group members read about placebo effects and were asked to inhale a saline solution nasal spray. They were told that the nasal spray was a placebo that contained no active ingredients but would help reduce their negative feelings if they believed it would. The comparison control group members also inhaled the same saline solution spray, but were told that the spray improved the clarity of the physiological readings the researchers were recording.  The first experiment found that the nondeceptive placebos reduced participants’ self-reported emotional distress. Importantly, the second study showed that nondeceptive placebos reduced electrical brain activity reflecting how much distress someone feels to emotional events, and the reduction in emotional brain activity occurred within just a couple of seconds.”   Findings are published in Nature Communications.

“Placebos Prove Powerful . . . Even When People Know They’re Taking One.”  2020.  Press release, Michigan State University,